Associated Press

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.

PENAS BLANCAS, Costa Rica — As summer began to bake the central Cuban city of Sancti Spiritus, Elio Alvarez and Lideisy Hernandez sold their tiny apartment and everything in it for $5,000 and joined the largest migration from their homeland in decades.

The United States and Cuba signed an agreement Wednesday to join forces and protect the vast array of fish and corals they share as countries separated by just 90 miles (140 kilometers), the first environmental accord since announcing plans to renew diplomatic relations.

"We recognize we all share the same ocean and face the same challenges of understanding, managing, and conserving critical marine resources for future generations," said Kathryn Sullivan, chief of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

As Marco Rubio campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination, he's pledging to bring generational change to Washington. Yet Rubio's policy toward Cuba hinges on reinstating a half-century-old diplomatic freeze that failed to unseat the communist government on the island where his parents were born.

The Florida senator sees no contradiction between his pledge to usher in new ideas and his call to restore an old, punitive relationship with Cuba.

A contentious proposal to let concealed weapons permit holders bring guns on state university and college campuses was among four firearm bills that made their final committee stops Thursday and will now be before their respective legislative chambers.

Two other bills will ban backyard gun ranges in densely populated areas and another will remove aggravated assault from the list of gun-related crimes subject to mandatory minimum sentences under the state's 10-20-Life law.

A Democratic House member and a Republican Senator want voters to expand term limits for state lawmakers from eight to 12 years.

House Democratic Leader Mark Pafford and Sen. Rene Garcia announced Thursday that they'll ask the Legislature to place a measure on the 2016 ballot asking voters to loosen the current term limits.

They said the measure wouldn't allow any current lawmakers to stay in officer longer, but rather is aimed at future senators and representatives.

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Wednesday called for the U.S. to send more troops to the Middle East to fight the Islamic State.

"This is the war of our time," the former Florida governor said at the Citadel five days after Islamic State militants attacked Paris and killed 129 people.

"Radical Islamic terrorists have declared war on the western world. Their aim is our total destruction. We can't withdraw from this threat, or negotiate with it. We have but once choice: to defeat it."

Animal rights activists applauded SeaWorld's plans to end its orca shows at its San Diego park but said the company should phase out its captivity of killer whales altogether.

The majority owner of Dade Medical College has pleaded guilty to charges that he made over $159,000 in illegal campaign contributions.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who loudly opposed a medical marijuana measure that appeared on the 2014 ballot, is staying on the sidelines this time around.

Republican Jeb Bush's campaign revival tour is getting louder and more colorful as he charges across early voting states with a can-do slogan, a tour bus and critiques of rivals who have become threats to his claim as the GOP mainstream favorite.

"We're Americans, dammit!" he shouted Wednesday at a pharmacy in Hollis, N.H., as he complained that the U.S. was not leading in key foreign policy disputes.

He saved special words for Donald Trump, the former reality show star who remains a leader in the unpredictable GOP nomination fight.

Florida may replace the statue of a Confederate general at the U.S. Capitol.

A Florida House panel on Wednesday endorsed a bill calling for removal of the bronze statue of Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith from the Capitol where every state is allowed to have two statues.

The bill sponsored by Miami Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz would start the process of selecting a sculptor and the name of a prominent Floridian citizen to replace Smith. The Florida Legislature would have to approve the replacement statue in 2017.

Nearly 11,000 rape kits have not been tested in Florida, according to statistics released by the state Tuesday, mirroring backlogs at law enforcement agencies nationwide because of a lack of funding.

The government's insurance website is faster and easier to use, but as a third sign-up season gets underway, President Barack Obama's health care law is approaching limits.

An appeals court ruled Friday that state universities are allowed to ban students from having guns in their dorm rooms.

A Florida man was executed Thursday nearly three decades after he was convicted of fatally stabbing his ex-wife, young daughter and two in-laws.

Pages